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10 Camping Hacks & Tips (DIY Outdoor Toilet, Campfire Cones + More)

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camping hacks

Love camping but hate the prep work?

I love to camp and spend time outdoors because of the quality family time it ultimately brings. Some of my best advice when camping with kids is to plan ahead! I also love to make checklists so I don’t leave anything important behind.

To help make your next camping trip easier and less stressful, check out these 10 camping tips and tricks!

Water Jug Camping Lantern

Headlamp Camp Lantern

Make an Instant camp lantern by wrapping a headlamp flashlight around a jug of water! This works so well. P.S. Headlamps are my favorite MUST HAVE camping tool, because they make life so much easier when walking around and doing things in the dark!


Shoe Organizer as Camping Supply Organizer

Hanging Shoe Organizer

Re-purpose an Over the Door Shoe Organizer to keep all the random kitchen supplies organized and in one spot when you’re camping. Hang it on the side of a shade structure or tree.


Prep Smores

Make a S’mores Pack

Avoid having to search around for S’mores supplies by prepping ahead of time and keeping all the items together in a large airtight container. I also encourage you to invest in some quality roasting forks that you can use for both marshmallows and hot dogs.


Pie Iron Cooking

My family loves this simple method of outdoor cooking using a Pie Iron to make delicious toasted treats over a campfire! Go here for more details and easy recipe ideas.


Campfire Cones

Melt chocolate, marshmallows and fruit inside foil wrapped ice cream cones for a yummy creative treat while camping. Get the details here.


Tamale Pie Dutch Oven Meal

Dutch Oven Cooking Rocks

The best meal I ever had camping was this Chicken Enchilada Pie Bake made with Jiffy Cornbread Mix and cooked over a campfire using a Lodge Camp Dutch Oven. Get the mouthwatering recipe at 50Campfires.com and save time by prepping ahead and compiling the chicken, bean and corn mixture at home. For less clean up, line the dutch oven with foil first before adding ingredients.


Dryer Lint Fire Starter

Dryer Lint Fire Starter

Dryer lint makes an excellent fire starter! Pack some in toilet paper rolls to take on your next camping trip.


Prep Ahead Pancakes for Camping

Prep Ahead Pancake Mix and Egg Storage

I always try to prep meals ahead of time at home for easier cooking when camping. Prep ahead two cups of pancake mix in a large jar so all you have to do is add a cup of water and an egg while camping. Make sure eggs don’t get crushed by packing them in a spill proof jar.


Composting-toilet jpg

DIY Camping Toilet

Make a simple and convenient outdoor toilet using a 5 gallon bucket and pool noodle! Get the directions at MotherEarthNews.com.


Make a Handwashing Station for Camping

Hand Washing Station

Re-purpose an empty and cleaned out pourable detergent container into a handy washing station while camping.


Do you have any great camping “Hacks” to share?


Written by Lina for Hip2Save. Lina is a proud mom of 2 small kids who loves photography, all holidays, cooking, thrift store makeovers, bargain shopping, and DIY makeovers. Her goal is to create a beautiful life and stylish home on a dime! To see all of Lina’s DIY/Crafts created just for Hip2Save, click here.

Join The Discussion

Comments 81

  1. Jenni

    Love the hacks! The DIY toilet is hysterical! 😂

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Ha I know! Thanks Jenni

  2. Jackie

    Great tips. For pancakes just get the ones that are “complete” you just have to add milk or water. No eggs needed so something less to pack 😉

    • Maite

      👍

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Perfect!

    • Heather

      We premix our pancakes and put them
      In old ketchup squeeze bottles in the cooler. Then all you have to do is shake and squeeze in the morning 😊

      • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

        Perfect! Great tip

      • Jill

        Love this idea! Will definitely do this in a couple of weeks when we head out camping.

    • ShellyShel

      yes the “just add water” ones 👌

  3. Maite

    Love these ideas!!! Would love to pin them on my Pinterest, so I can remember, but it always shows there is no image to pin.

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Hmm I was just able to use the red Pinterest “Pin It” button under the top photo..another way would be to copy then paste the link when adding a pin in the Pinterest site or app.

      • Maite

        Thank you! Love your ideas.

      • Maite

        It’s just the app on my iphone, I went to the webpage and was able to pin it!

        • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

          Oh great! Thanks Maite!

  4. Robyn

    We made a camping toilet for my mom a couple of years ago when they got a new boat. I don’t think its ever been used, but it makes for a hilarious gift. 🙂 🙂

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Haha that’s awesome!

  5. Deanna

    Love the dryer lint idea!!

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Great! My son learned it in cubs scouts and we tried it out 👍🏻

  6. Heather

    Trust me, when it’s 2am and your little person needs to potty-those toilets rock. 😉

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Ha-Thanks Heather!

    • Heather C.

      Its been a life-saver for us too!!

  7. Bob

    I could have used that DIY Camping Toilet last night instead of the Angel food cake tin.

    • 4Ella

      LOL

  8. Marvymia

    Great ideas, thanks!! Makes the thought of preparing for camping a little less overwhelming!

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Thanks Marvymia!

  9. Juices

    My dad always cooks a ton of pancakes and French toast and sausage before leaving. You can reheat over the fire or on little propane table top grill if you have one. It saves a lot of time.

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Oh that’s so smart!!! Great tip

    • Tracy

      That’s a great idea. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Len

    Love all your great ideas. Oh and I was just @ Walmart earlier to pick up my online order and I saw lots of headlights for $1. These are a great help if your up and about preparing stuff. Thanks for posting. Keep them coming.

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Ah thanks Len. Yes if you’ve ever had to set up camp in the dark headlamps are a life saver! That sounds like a great deal 👍🏻

  11. Lynne

    Reuse the big jugs you buy juice in (old orchard etc) fill about 3/4 full with water and freeze. 2-3 of them will keep you cooler nice and cool for a long time, plus when the ice melts you have extra nice cold drinking water.

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Great idea – thanks Lynne

    • Heather C.

      Yes! We do this too… Works great!

  12. Kerryiu

    Admit it, we all clicked just to see the toilet ☺️

  13. Amy

    I keep all the camping stuff in totes in the garage so they are ready to go. Just load the totes in the car. If you don’t want to bother with cooking and the clean up, like pots and pans, we have camped before where we only eat cold foods and foods prepared ahead of time: pasta salad, green salad, tuna salad, hard boiled eggs, sandwiches.

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Awesome! We do totes as well! I agree- making as much ahead of time is great. Thanks Amy!

  14. StephB

    Such great ideas, Thank you for sharing!!!

  15. sandiwaves

    Instead of using table cloth on the picnic table use a twin fitted sheet, it will not blow away lol.

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      I love that idea!! Thanks for sharing

    • Caroline

      Oh that’s a really great idea!!!

    • Tracy

      Good idea. And really easy to clean once you get home.

  16. Lucy

    Thank you for all the new tips! We also use totes at our house. I have a check off list in one of them that helps with everything that needs to get loaded. Then I have another list which tells me all that I need to buy for food. This includes all my family’s favorite, We usually have the same menu every time. I bring along any left overs from the week, like spaghetti, lasagna, or soups. That helps with anyone who wants something different.

    • Heather C.

      The leftover idea is great!

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      I’ve prepped ahead and made noodles for pasta to bring but never thought of left overs! That’s a great idea! Thanks Lucy

  17. Jane

    Genius, Lina, pure genius! Thanks for sharing this great post!

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Thanks for reading Jane!

  18. Ashley

    I like to use caned chocolate frosting or Nutella instead of chocolate bars for smores then it has a lid and you don’t have to worry about it melting while storing or wait for it to melt when ready to eat the smores super big hit around our campfire!

    • Maria

      ohhh that’s a good one! Thanks for sharing.

      • Margaret

        Rolos are awesome for smores…

    • Heather C.

      So smart… Thanks for the idea!

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      I’m gonna try that! Great idea 😀 Thanks Ashley

    • Anna

      Brilliant!! Thx!!

    • Trin

      We also like to just buy the cheap fudge stripe cookies rather than grahams and chocolate bars; way easier for kids to make their own smores…

  19. brdavis55

    Another fire starter I use is taking a cotton ball to soak up the used wax in like the “Scentsy” wax warmers, let them harden on a paper plate then bag them to put in to start your camp fire.

    • Heather C.

      Great idea! Or I just take the used wax and pour a little into the TP fire starter rolls like Lina has pictured.

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      That’s a great idea for those warmers – Thanks!

    • Keeley Frederick

      I do the same thing! Clean up the scents and prepare for campouts at the same time.

    • CGR

      Use potato chips for fire starters.

  20. Heather C.

    Thanks for all the great ideas Lina! We haven’t been able to go camping yet this summer, and the kids go back to school ealry this year. (Aug. 4th 😞) Hopefully we’ll be able to squeeze a camping trip in soon!

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      You’re welcome Heather! Thanks for your nice comments. Hope you can camp soon. 😀

  21. Sarah

    Why do you need a camp toilet? Why not just enjoy having the freedom to be outdoors without modern conveniences? Maybe I’ve done too much ultralight backpacking.

    • Sarah

      Young children can have a hard time going outdoors without getting their clothes dirty or wet. I enjoyed camping light as well till I had kiddos 😉

    • Linda

      I’m a little older than you guys, I’m sure, and don’t have the same flexibility I did in my younger days. Having the convenience of the camp potty is …well, convenient! It’s the difference of a 57 yr old lady being able to tent camp or have to stay home and miss out on the fun! It’s been an extremely helpful idea and I send praises to the person who thought of it !

  22. Teresa

    I buy fudge striped cookies instead of graham crackers and chocolate. Then the chocolate melts easier and it is usually cheaper especially if you get them at the dollar store.

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Awesome – those cookies rock! 😀👌🏻

    • Maria

      Awesome !

  23. Margaret

    Take empty tic tac containers for spices. Saves space

  24. Patricia Sennett

    Add COLORS to your campfires by tossing in your old playing cards….one at a time!

  25. Keeley Frederick

    Here’s a hack that a lot of people don’t know about…

    If you fold up your tent to a width of no larger than your tent poles and then use the poles to roll the length of the tent up, the tent will always fit back in the tent bag.

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      I’m so trying that next time! Fitting the tent back in the bag is the worst part! Haha

  26. Georgia

    If you cut off the leg of a pair of pantyhose and drop a bar of soap down to the toe, you can tie it to your hand washing station and never lose your soap or run out. We also use a pair of long jeans for our tent and canopy bags. Put the tent or canopy in one leg and the poles and pegs in the other. Tie it up with a peice of coding or rope and you have an instant bag to keep everything together. And it never wears out!

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Smart ideas! Thanks 😀

  27. jo schaf

    We take a large baggie of chicken thighs with a liberal dose of marinade. It’s easy to grill with a couple of red peppers. We also take chili made at home for a quick re-heat. Eat in a bowl or dip with nachos.

    A pour-over coffee cone, best coffee and easy cleanup. Just need to heat hot water.

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Great ideas!

  28. Melanie

    We love to take glow sticks with us camping and stick them in old water-filled jugs for a cool looking lantern at night.

  29. Julia

    Hey Ladies I love all of these great ideasdoes anyone know easy dinner ideas for camping

  30. Correy

    We freeze bottles of water and use them instead of ice in our coolers. They work awesome and double as drinking water

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Great tip! Thanks for sharing

  31. MaaMaaBear

    We prep enough cold brew coffee for the trip! Easy to add creamer and heat if you wanted too! Gotta have good coffee! ❤️

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Yes! This is such a great tip – I love cold brew 👍

  32. Cindy Miller

    I love the tips. Thanks for sharing
    It ‘s really useful for beginners

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